Sparta summit addresses need for housing in rural areas

Increase in rural businesses causing higher demand for residential locations

Housing was the focus of a summit held at the Colonial Banquet Center in Sparta Tuesday.

The 7 Rivers Alliance hosted the Rural Workforce Housing Summit, starting a discussion about the need for housing closer to workplaces. With the increase in rural businesses many areas are seeing a higher demand for residential locations.

Experts from the Wisconsin Department of Administration to the Department of Natural Resources and many private businesses attended, adding their own thoughts to the discussion.

According to one of these experts a changing workforce is also creating demand for a different kind of housing.

“The millennials are a whole different type of employee, a whole type of owner. For one, they don’t really want to own a home, they’d rather rent, and they’d rather rent where it’s close to all the action which is of course in major cities. So you’re seeing them change the whole scope of what housing is all about too,” said Monroe County Economic Development Coordinator Steve Peterson.

Peterson says another cause is likely a lower number of contractors since about 2008 during the recession.